Notes: Listed below are the seven major Heraldric Houses in Pendrakken. Each Heraldric House traces their name and their lineage from a single heroic figure. Besides these seven, there are many other Heraldric Houses in Pendrakken. Some are Vassal Houses, small families that are bound to a major Heraldric House via blood-bond or allegiance. Others are Minor Houses, nobility that are bound only to the Royal House of Pendrakken by allegiance – the members of a Minor House trace their lineages from an ancestral hero that has been given land and title by one of the ten Pendrakken Kings.
It is the suggestion of the Rules Director that players who create their own Heraldric Houses as part of their backstory submit a profile of that Heraldric to the Rules Director and to Staff (for further use in plot if need be).
Player Characters may come from a Heraldric House although those who want to come from one of the major Heraldric House cannot be heirs to the leadership of the House. Pendrakken practices Primogeniture so only the first-born sons of the main-branch may inherit leadership roles (exceptions exist, of course). It is recommended that those willing to write backstories intertwined with the Heraldric Houses contact Staff for further information/guidance.
Honor, Duty, Valor and Vengeance
Basic: The main branch of House Pendrakken is the royal House of the Chivalric Kingdom of Pendrakken.
Symbol: A Crimson Dragon holding a Golden Sword and Shield over a field of White.
History: The history of Pendrakken dates back to its holdings in beshadowed Gotterdammerung. Krieger Pendrakken was a lesser house in the shadow of House Eisenwulf, having won its nobility through the destruction of a rampaging Dragon long ago. The very act that would earn the Krieger its prestige would become its undoing – the Dragon’s spawn razed Krieger Pendrakken to the ground and Luther von Pendrakken was all that was left. Instead of aiding him, the neighboring fiefs annexed his holdings and attempted to slay him.
Luther had little choice but to leave with what remained of his retinue and pursue the only thing that remained to him: vengeance. Thus did he travel to the ends of the world, slaying monsters and villains until he had put five Dragonspawn to the sword. But the end of his vengeance was not the end of his journey – he was led to his wife Akasha and the construction of Lutharion by the Lake by the whims and winds of Fate and he would found a Kingdom that would shake the very foundations of Midworld.
Current: House Pendrakken lost much in the Vagnarian Rebellion but it gained so much more from Arcturus’ travels. Many heroes followed Arcturus back to Pendrakken to lend him their aid: great Men, graceful Elves and mighty Beastlings having been aided by the wandering Errant King in the past, repaid him with their assistance. Arcturus has allowed these folk to reside in the lands left unoccupied by Vagnarian exile, to let their tribes join his Chivalric Kingdom and partake of the protection that he and his Kingdom can provide.
The Errant King also brought back many ideas that challenge the traditional framework of Pendrakken or improve upon existing processes. One such idea is the creation of the concord that has led to an alliance between several Kingdoms and the growth of Freehold in commerce and industry. Many sages foresee a new age approaching thanks to the influx of change; but whether this change is for good or ill is up to the fates to decide.
Leadership: The Lord-Patriarch of House Pendrakken and the tenth King of the Chivalric Kingdom is Arcturus I, also known as the Errant King. His sixty winters of life has seen more sorrows, more triumphs and more wonders than most folk could ever bear. While the Errant King is done with his wandering, he is far from done with his duties: the foremost of which is the bringing of peace to Pendrakken. It is to that end that he proposed the alliance that has brought peace, life and commerce to Freehold – that he may one day see the prophesied Seventh Kingdom become reality.
There are those that see a tiredness to the King as of late and keen eyes detect a haste to his planning and his stratagems. It is as if Errant King is moving his pieces to receive a great change coming on the horizon. But what he is preparing for, he keeps to himself.
August 2016 Update:
In the month of August and the Year of 2016 as the Wyrdic Empire once counted it, King Arcturus Pendrakken I was slain while fighting alongside heroes and sellswords within the neutral town of Freehold. He and his allies fought against an Immortal entity named Morrath and the minions of a demonic being named Portia.
Closest in line to replace him is Adrianna Pendrakken, a knight-general within House Pendrakken and a woman more accustomed to soldierly discipline and the management of armies than the politics of court.
Farther away in line but still in the running is Alexius Pendrakken, a man of great influence in the court and a master swordsman. However, he is followed by dark rumors despite the favors he holds from every major House and more than a few minor Houses in the Kingdom
Basic: House Arius is a Heraldric House of Pendrakken that seeks to propagate the Church of the Seven United.
Symbol: A Light Blue Hydra with seven heads wrapped around a staff on a field of white.
History: Arius the Wise was a mere commoner but he served Luther von Pendrakken well as a confessor, a counselor and as a healer. His piety held Luther and his retinue together through the worst of times but the Priest is best remembered for the canon of the Seven United, a scripture that separated Arius and his apostles away from Lord Reaper’s Church and allowed them to found a new (and to some heretical) religion. This new perspective on the seven Wyrdic gods was a major source of contention between Gotterdammerung and Pendrakken that has only recently cooled.
In the war against House Vagnar, House Arius’ forces were crushed in the Battle of Clydas Field by the unstoppable cavalry and the cruel cunning of Tristram Vagnar. Thus have the fortunes of House Arius waned, not from a lack of faith but from an overabundance of it. They have since been rebuilding their broken armies, although they do so with little haste because they see the lack of a military force as another test sent by the Seven to determine their piety.
And if anything true can be said about House Arius, it is that they are Ever Faithful.
Current: House Arius is deeply intertwined with the Church of the Seven United, three out of the seven Heirophants are born of Arius’ bloodline and every household of that Heraldric House and its vassal Houses boasts of at least one son or daughter given to the Church.
While one could say that House Arius’ influence lies in every place that bears a shrine, the Heraldric House claims higher causes as their ultimate goals: the propagation of the faith, the maintenance of virtue and the protection of the righteous.
Leadership: Alexander Arius is the Lord-Patriarch of House Arius and the Minister of Faith in Arcturus’ court. Alexander is a pious young man newly thrust in his current position by the death of his father two years ago, but many believe that he performs his duty with a wisdom far beyond his years.
Lord Alexander is responsible for the improved relations between the Lord Reaper’s Church and the Church of the Seven United by allowing for peaceable theological debate and philosophical discussion between the two faiths. While it is unlikely that the “Heresy of Arius” will ever be forgiven or retracted, there are many who believe that the decreased hostility between the two factions is enough of a gift to thank the gods.
Bound by Words
Basic: House Vard is a Heraldric House of Pendrakken known for the power of its magic-users and its unwavering loyalty.
Symbol: The Ebon Phoenix over a field that is half White and half Green.
History: House Vard claims its lineages from a powerful Sorcerer named Vard whose soul was captured in a gem by a demonic presence. After Luther von Pendrakken freed her from imprisonment and granted her the vengeance she desired, Vard swore the allegiance of herself and her disciples to the protection of Pendrakken’s bloodline. She also served as a font of counsel regarding affairs of magic and arcana for Pendrakken King, utilizing sorcery and wisdom to advance the Vale-King’s cause.
When Luther von Pendrakken began to forge his Kingdom, Vard’s disciples crafted a mighty spire amidst the lonely mountains to the south to gather their secrets and their strength. From this tower did these Sorcerers wield their magics against the evils that beset the lands of Pendrakken. There were few villains and beasts that could withstand the fires and the frost of the Vardian disciples.
Yet, for all of her might, Vard’s tale would almost end in tragedy. Demonic beasts ambushed her and ten of her greatest students. Though they fought with the valor of true Pendrakken knights, they were defeated and Vard herself was bewitched by a Demonic presence once more. Demon and Host went to Lutherion with a horde of demons to end the life of her King.
But the legendary loyalty of Vard was forever placed in song and tale when Luther challenged her to personal combat. House Vard swears this tale to truth when they claim that Vard set herself to flame and frost before she could harm her liege. The words of House Vard were their progenitor’s legendary last breath – spoken to King Luther ere the end of his time.
Current: House Vard is one of the smallest of the major Houses of Pendrakken, but it holds as much power as any other. Despite its size, it is a bastion of wisdom regarding magic and arcana in the Chivalric Kingdom. Other Heraldric Houses send budding Witches and Sorcerers to House Vard to train, for such is reputation that is had by Vardian discipline, Vardian skill and Vardian loyalty. Those that undergo training in this storied House cannot help but maintain an affiliation with it, thereby extending further the influence and the power of House Vard across the whole of Pendrakken.
Leadership: Marcus Vard is the Lord-Patriarch of House Vard. He is also a Soothsinger of prodigious insight and as Minister of Magic, ever close to the King’s ear in counsel. Lord Marcus is known as a paragon of his House’s virtues and rumors have his loyalty to the throne in nigh absolution that his House suffered greatly from House Vagnar’s coup – Valerious Pendrakken was not the only one who lost all of his children to Tristram’s ambition.
Lord Marcus’ only point of dissension with the King is the handling of the Vagnarian children. The only reason the children of Tristram Vagnar did not meet their fates in flame and frost is because of the King’s mercy and Lord Marcus’ loyalty…
Untiring, unfailing, unending
Basic: House Graellen is a Heraldric House of Wild Elves known for its determination, its tenacity and its vigilance.
Symbol: Three Black Hounds over Russet and Gold.
History: The storied House of Graellen claims descent from the Pendrakken Hero of the same name. In the “Wake of Luther”, bards sing of the Wildling Knight’s first meeting with Luther von Pendrakken’s retinue: it begins with a personal challenge, it is followed by single unarmed combat and ends with Graellen’s vow of allegiance. For all of Graellen’s legendary stature and his legendary stubbornness, it is sung that Luther was too quick and too clever for him by half. Despite their initial hostility, Graellen and the King would become the closest of friends to the point that Graellen himself would be called the “King’s Hound”
The Hound’s stubbornness would lead him into the Halls of Legend as his prowess as a hunter and his relentless determination. When the ethereal slayer known as the Barghest haunted the lands around Lutherion, it was Graellen that tracks it down and slays it- as well as its monstrous mate and spawn.
Graellen’s storied fate is told in the song, “Graellen and the Green Knight”. A fey creature claiming to be a blood-brother to the Akasha enters the Halls of Lutharion and issues a challenge to the King and his Knights: that one of them may cleave off his head but that he returns after a year and a day to avenge his beheading in the same manner. Graellen volunteers from the task and the chronicle of his last year and its expenditure is well-known among his House. After Graellen is slain by the devious fey, Luther and his Knights avenge his death by descending upon the fey’s manor and salting its ashes with pieces of cold iron.
Current: The Wild Elf House of Graellen has ever been favored by the King except during the time of Valerious Pendrakken. Even now, Gerion Graellen, the son of Corber Graellen, serves as the King’s Hand- his champion and lord-general in times of war. Corber was one of the first to join his banners to Arcturus’ and 10 years later, the King remains the foremost of his loyalties, such that he allowed his son to be chosen as the King’s Hand.
House Graellen’s star is waxing as the years progress: their numbers swell and their influence broadens. The Hounds of Graellen flutter above a growing army, an army capable of crushing any that dare invade the Chivalric Kingdom.
Leadership: Corber Graellen is the Lord-Patriarch of House Graellen. As the direct descendant of Graellen, he is a Wildling of great stature and great patience. He is also the Minister of War, tasked with direction and guidance of the King’s legions.
Sharper than Steel, Deeper than Swords
Basic: House Macha is a Heraldric House of Pendrakken feared for its dedication to the resolution of Justice.
Symbol: A Black Manticor with its stinger over its head over Scarlet and Rust.
History: The cunning of an Elf, the strength of a Lion and the mortality of Venom: these are the reasons why Macha chose the Manticor for her banner. It is writ in the annals of House Macha that she was a Fir’bolg Shaedling that joined Luther von Pendrakken in his quest of vengeance. Though she was slight in stature, she bore a fearsome visage that caused man and beast to fear her cruel gaze more than they did her blade. It is this aspect of Macha that granted her the epithet: the Angel of Fear.
The Angel of Fear was like a shadow of Luther von Pendrakken, his closest and deadliest companion. Legend claims that she was borne of the darkness to serve the Knight in his quest for vengeance and returned to the shadows after Luther married Akasha. The members of House Macha do not claim direct lineage to the Angel of Fear, they are descended instead from her disciples, bid by their dark lady to watch over Pendrakken, to watch over his blood with theirs until the chosen time. And so have the Macha done this, until Valerious Pendrakken took the throne.
The Macha claim that they already knew who was to inherit the throne. And there are those who have observed their subtle retreat during this era. They tended to their lands and their duties, but they did not give Valerious the same fervor they had gifted upon those who came before him.
House Macha fully supported Arcturus’ return; their forces stood waiting and ready to march alongside the Errant King when he had arrived. But the retaking of Lutherion by the Lake was a costly affair for House Macha and enemies of the Manticor claimed that they let the Kingdom fall asunder while they lay on their palms awaiting the King’s return. Thus did the Manticor’s favor wane in court and to this very day, few of House Macha reside in the royal keep.
Current: House Macha earns more fear than respect among the commoners of Pendrakken, as well as some of the nobility. It is this fear that stays their popularity but allows them to do their assigned duty: the dispensation of the King’s Justice upon the Chivalric Kingdom. Due in part to their reputation and to Arcturus’ urging, House Macha has made their methods scarce but even the lowest of criminals in Pendrakken keeps an eye out for the Manticor before indulging in his vices.
Leadership: Severard Macha is the Lord-Patriarch of House Macha and the King’s Minister of Justice. He is a Shaedling noted for his stern visage, his unflinching demeanor and his burning gaze. There are those who think Lord Severard a Sorcerer for the way he controls people and inspire abject fear with only his stare.
For his part, Lord Severard is faced with the thankless task of administering Justice to Pendrakken and his own House. It is a task that poses difficult choices to him on a regular basis, such as choosing between the banishment or the execution of a kinsman. House Macha’s reputation depends in part on the perfection of their own ranks and thus, Severard is crueler upon his own kin than he is to the criminals of the Chivalric Kingdom.
Songs will be Sung
Basic: House Rayne is a Heraldric House known for its bards, its discipline and its glory-seeking.
Symbol: A Russet and Gold Gryphon over a field of White.
History: It is sung that Luther von Pendrakken met the ancient, long-bearded man who called himself Rayne in a dirty, leaking tavern at the edge of the world. The songs then say that Luther’s deeds were well-known to the weathered old man, who then challenge the survivor of Pendrakken to a duel of boasts.
But even the storied accomplishments of Luther found it hard-pressed to rival even the glorious exploits of Rayne. Indeed, despite the incredulity of each succeeding tale of stars stolen from heavens, giants wrestled to yielding or daemons tricked by cunning, there would be a man or a woman in the inn or the small village around it who cried “aye” or else claimed the truth of Rayne’s words upon their very blood and the blood of their fathers.
When Luther let loose the fullness of his wanderings, of the thousand sorrows of his sojourn and of the celebrated triumphs of his travels, even Rayne was held to silence at the power of Luther’s tale.
Rayne decided then and there to follow Luther until his liege had led him to a glorious end greater than could ever be surpassed. After Luther dubbed him a Knight, Rayne asked him if he could bring his children along. When Pendrakken agreed, the inn and the village rose up as one to follow their Lord and their father, Rayne.
Ten years ago, House Rayne was one of the last to join the Arcturus’ forces against Tristram Vagnar, but not for a lack of valor or an abundance of caution. House Rayne suffered heavy losses from the nigh-invincible cavalry of Vagnar. The most telling loss is that of Lord-Patriarch Charles Rayne who attempted to best Tristram in an ill fated charge that cost him his life and the lives of his sons. William Rayne arrived with reinforcements too late to save his brother, but in time to grant Arcturus the support of his House.
Current: House Rayne is one of the most well-known and most popular of the Heraldric Houses. The knights of the Gryphon are quick to make known their triumphs and achievements, moreso than other Pendrakken Knights. The valor of the Lion and the glory of the Eagle are touted as the greatest virtues a man could possibly have and the Raynes believe that they have these virtues in full. Indeed, one can trust in a Rayne to seek first the noblest and hardest of positions in the battlefield and to be smiling and laughing amid the flying mud and blood.
House Rayne is not as favored by Arcturus or the other Houses, but the average commoner and the peasant is filled to bursting with the tales of Rayne heroism and Rayne songs. Other Houses may call the Raynes “glory-hounds” and “valor-whores”, but Raynes pay no attention to these names; they are glad enough to join the fray of combat and live to sing about it.
Leadership: William Rayne is the new Lord-Patriarch of House Rayne and also the King’s Minister of Lore. Lord William is known for his skills as a warrior but also as a poet of the greatest caliber, having composed several master epics based on the exploits of Rayne and of Luther Pendrakken. However, he is haunted by whispers and doubting rumors regarding Lord William Rayne’s ability to lead.
It has been 10 years since he has taken charge of the Heraldric House and Rayne has recovered well from the disasters of the Vagnarian rebellion but there are those that look upon the heroics of Charles and wish a return to William’s fallen brother. For his own part, William does not let the shadow of his brother bother him… at least, that is the appearance that he displays for all to see.
Basic: House Vagnar is a Heraldric House known for its cunning, its power and its shameful exile.
Symbol: A russet horse-head upon a green and gold shield.
History: Vagnar Shieldbreaker was a reaver renowned for his might and his wrath in the wind-burned peaks of the Chained Kingdom. Such was his reputation for cruelty and villainy that even the Jotun feared him. When Luther von Pendrakken bested Vagnar Shieldbreaker and slew his Frost-wolf steed in a mounted duel, the future King of Pendrakken was surprised when the Jotunbrud put up his spear and his hammer and offered it up to Luther’s service.
It is believed that Luther dubbed him as a Knight in two-fold hope: that Vagnar’s might would serve him well on the battlefield and that a Chivalric Code would redeem the ruthless reaver. Vagnar served his liege well through the wandering years, his equestrian skills were as sharp as his weapon expertise. Vagnar and the retinue he assembled would break the back of many an offensive and the very mention of Vagnarian Cavalry evoked fear in the hearts of whole armies. Whatever Vagnar’s intentions in joining Luther’s side, it was easy to see that his deadliness was keened by the missions they had partaken. House Vagnar would be known as a Heraldric House that would suffer no enemies for so mortal were the spears and hammers of their armies.
It was this legendary cavalry that almost shattered the Chivalric Kingdom ten years ago. Against the banner of the Nightmare, there could be no victor… until Arcturus came along and his warcry was a call to vengeance and to justice. The Errant King broke the back of House Vagnar when he slew their Lord-Patriarch in a duel that bards still sing about and unlike his ancestor, Arcturus took his enemy’s life.
Current: House Vagnar is a Heraldric House in exile. Ten years ago, Arcturus banished them from the Chivalric Kingdom on pain of death. Of Tristram’s progeny, only Morgan, his eldest, went with them. The remainder of House Vagnar’s main lineage stayed in Chivalric Kingdom as a reassurance against their return, a lesson regarding their treachery and a hope for a peaceful future.
Though few speak their doubts aloud, there are many that question the effectiveness of the King’s plan. Some cry out for vengeance; they say that the sins of the father must be paid for with the blood of his children. There are those that say that the children should have left with House Vagnar or that House Vagnar should have given up more than just their bloodline in their defeat.
But Arcturus remains resolute in his decision, if nothing else, he has made the children of House Vagnar his special guests in Lutharion by the Lake – to act in malice against any of Tristram’s scions in their minority is to harm the Royal Body itself. Come the age of majority however, blood of Tristram is allowed independence and some of their land (held in trust by House Pendrakken): a test to see if the King’s decision would become his regret.
Leadership: While the blood of Vagnar in Pendrakken have no leader but the King, among the wandering exiles of House Vagnar, Morgan, eldest son of Tristram, holds the power of Patriarchy and Lordship. He is embittered by the fate of his House, but mindful of his duty to lead it through these dark times and back into glory. To this end, he has even changed the words of House Vagnar to suit their new state. Whether his bitterness is directed toward Arcturus or his father is known only to himself and his confessor, Blessed Edward of House Arius.